Volunteers searching Ohio River for connection to unsolved murder of Laney Gwinner

Team of volunteers searching Ohio River for connection to unsolved murder of Laney Gwinner
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:23 PM EDT
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LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. (FOX19) - More than 20 years after Laney Gwinner disappeared and later found dead, volunteers are searching the Ohio River to look for her missing car.

Alana “Laney” Gwinner vanished in December 1997 after she left the Gilmore Lanes Bowling Alley in Fairfield around 1 a.m.

Investigators said the 23-year-old was supposed to go to her boyfriend’s house, but she never made it there.

[RELATED: Cincinnati’s Crime Vault - Retired detective shares new details on 1997 unsolved murder of Laney Gwinner]

A month later, police said Gwinner’s body was found in the Ohio River.

To this day, Gwinner’s case remains unsolved, and her vehicle, a 1993 Honda Del Sol, has never been located.

A cold case class at Mason High School has been researching Gwinner’s case, under the instruction of teacher Randy Hubbard.

Hubbard is now teaming up with a retired detective and an experienced fisherman, Dustin Faul, to search the Ohio River for Gwinner’s car.

“I’m going to work very close with them from this day forward to help any way I can,” Faul said.

Faul, a cat-fisherman, said he is more than happy to donate his time and his tools to help with the search. Using sonar technology, their mission is to find the missing car.

“I can see a tree limb laying in the bottom of the river. I can see tires laying in the bottom of the river and count them,” Faul said. “A lot of times I can see a fish and stop and zoom in on it and tell you exactly what kind of fish that is.”

Faul said he has experience in the area. A couple of years ago, he said he found three vehicles in the water.

“One of them which had the deceased body of an 80-year-old man that had been missing for 16 years,” Faul said.

On Wednesday, the team loaded up a boat at Tanner’s Creek Boat Ramp in Lawrenceburg, Indiana and started searching the river.

Faul said in total, over the course of several searches, he expects they will cover at least 300 miles.

“We’re gonna search from Portsmouth all the way down to Louisville,” Faul said. “The end goal is to bring closure to the family, more than anything, and to give I guess the kids the pride and the credit that they deserve for all the hard work and hours they’ve put into this case to bring justice for her.”

As of Wednesday evening, Hubbard said the search crews did discover a vehicle underwater in the Great Miami River, which connects to the Ohio River. No other details are available at this time.

The new search efforts bring a renewed sense of hope to Gwinner’s loved ones.

Her brother, David Gwinner, shared a statement on Wednesday:

“The best way for me to describe what it means to myself and my family would be overwhelming gratitude. I can’t thank Randy, his class, and Mason High School enough. My sister’s case has been a roller coaster ride over the years with different detectives and individuals putting so much time and effort into it without being able to get to closure. The case has been quiet for some time now so having Randy, his team, and all those who have offered their help and support has brought a renewed sense of hope as well as a welcome reminder that while her case remains unsolved it’s still not forgotten.”

Anyone with information on the investigation is asked to call Fairfield Police at 513-829-8201 or the Butler County Sheriff’s Office at 513-785-1000.

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